Isabel Duggan Roffe the narrator of ‘Where We Belong’.

Cavan heritage gets global audience

A podcast celebrating Cavan’s heritage has proven a surprise hit with listeners across the globe. Although the ‘Where We Belong’ podcast was created with a local audience in mind it has attracted attention from places as far flung as Russia, Sweden and USA.

The podcast by the Heritage Office of Cavan County Council even reached number 14 in the charts of History Podcasts in Austria.

“The listenership is from all over the world,” Anne Marie Curley, Heritage Officer explained.

Produced by actor/director Alan Bradley the inspiration for the venture was to encourage people to explore all aspects of heritage in their immediate locality during lockdown.

“It was initially about encouraging people to get to know their own areas. To look and appreciate aspects heritage within their 5km, built and natural. We are using the medium of sound, trying to transport people,” Anne Marie says.

“There are different focuses within the series,” the Heritage Officer tells. “For example one examines our built heritage. We talk to David Cullivan, a noted Cavan conservation architect, and Ian Elliot, the owner of the protected structure Corravahan House and Gardens, Drung. It’s about giving people a taste of the wonderful heritage available in Cavan. With the podcast we can bring that to people all across the world.”

The public appetite for the project appears to be whetted by global events: “It’s almost like heritage has gone through a renaissance. It’s as if Covid and the pandemic has allowed us look at where we have come from and the heritage that surrounds us. People have time.

“Last year people were hearing the cuckoo for the first time, hearing the sound of the bees. Through the medium of sound we have been able to bring our heritage to a wide audience.”

The tone of the series is set by the participants: “It’s very relaxing. We use heritage champions in Cavan to promote the heritage of the county. Heather Bothwell, Heather Brett, Jackie O’Neill all speak about how landscape has influenced their lives and what they do.”

Producer Alan Bradley is familiar to readers of The Anglo-Celt ents section. His documentary on Virginia Show, the award winning one man play Grounds for Concern, and the recent Sean Boylan documentary are components of an impressive CV.

Alan puts the popularity of the podcast down to its diversity: “The way it has been received is great. They are nice episodes to put on. The are quite relaxed. There are lots of different topics covered; nature, architecture and art are all areas that are explored.”

The current series of ‘Where We Belong’ was launched in May and is available on all streaming platforms.